Like any good child of the 20th/21st century, I’ve grown up depending on e-mail as my primary mode of communication. It’s so convenient – you can do it at any time of day or night, it can be personal or formal, and best of all, it can help you avoid the awkwardness of “cold calling.” For some reason, it just doesn’t seem as painful to be rejected by e-mail as it is over the phone. But that’s the catch. For some reason, it also seems easier to reject the requests of others via e-mail. The handy delete key can be dutifully employed and no one’s feelings have to be hurt. Instead, one is left wondering whether the e-mail was properly transmitted, whether the intended recipient viewed it, whether they are just busy and haven’t gotten around to replying yet, or whether they have indeed rejected the request and deleted it altogether.
Thus I have learned the value of a simple phone call. In my process of soliciting endorsements for Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate, I’ve sent out numerous e-mails. Most went unanswered. However, last week, due to a tip from a friend, I made a phone call to an organization where a person from whom I was hoping to secure an endorsement works. After a brief conversation with his assistant, I sent a follow-up e-mail with the promised additional information and links. Later that afternoon, an endorsement arrived in my inbox. I was shocked! And regretful of my frequent hesitation/refusal to make phone calls.
So yesterday morning, I performed the much-disliked task of calling all the other endorsers from whom I had not heard to follow-up on the e-mail I sent weeks ago. And you know what? I didn’t get a single rejection. Every person with whom I spoke was friendly and receptive. But best of all, now I have a full list of names and addresses of people who are eagerly waiting to receive an Advance Review Copy of my book as soon as it’s printed and ready to go! 🙂
Check out this article at Self Publishing Advice with five helpful editing tips for self-publishers. I can vouch for the absolute importance of having an editor – multiple editors, actually! When I finished my first draft of Pajama School, I gave a copy of the manuscript to each member of my family for them to read and edit. (I think we must be a little bit on the geeky side, because just about everyone in our family enjoys editing…or at least pointing out errors in other people’s writing!) Once I inputted all of those edits and changes, I gave copies to the other four people I recruited to do editing for me. One of them is still finishing up his editing. (Note: Editing is a LONG process! Be sure you don’t underestimate the time it will take!)
Once I receive the final edits this week, I plan to do one more read-through to incorporate all of the edits, suggestions, etc. Then we’ll be ready to move forward with the final page layout before printing. Hooray! It’s getting close!
Tonight, I spent a good deal of time making adjustments to my Sibro Publishing website. You probably won’t see any of them, though, because they are all in the backend! I’m using the Open Source Joomla CMS for the website, and have installed the VirtueMart Shopping Cart component to handle the orders. I highly recommend both of these! They have a bit of a learning curve, but it can be done. It’s well worth it in the long run for a variety of reasons:
1. It is free!
2. It is a very customizable and flexible structure that allows for expansion if you decide to grow your self-publishing business.
3. Both of these have excellent support communities where you are almost guaranteed to find answers to your questions.
4. There are tons of additional components and plugins that can be installed. (I’m also using the free Acajoom mailing list component to manage subscribers, and send out a regular e-newsletter.)
I will say, this option is best suited for the more serious web developer. I’m a huge fan of Open Source (when it suits my purposes), so I don’t mind investing the time to work through some of the headaches involved with getting everything set up, customized, and ready for business. The real test will come, though, once the orders start pouring in! 🙂
(I have been trying to work through some cross-browser inconsistency issues, so if you see anything that doesn’t look quite right, please don’t hesitate to let me know!)
After resisting the suggestion the first couple of times, I finally caved in and decided to start a blog specifically devoted to my book. Now I’m really excited about it, and think it will be a great extension of my vision for the book itself.
I still plan to update Journey to Self-Publishing with information, resources, and progress reports relevant to the publishing side of things. The “journey” just becomes more involved all the time! It is still often overwhelming, but I suppose it is good for me to feel that way – it keeps me dependent on the grace of God, rather than my own strength and abilities.